Policy Context. There are approximately 650,000 to 700,000 H-1B workers in the United States, at anyone time, all are in middle-class jobs, and virtually all of these jobs could be held by legal residents of the United States, such as green card immigrants or U.S. citizens, were the laws on the employment of H-1Bs not so loose, and so loosely enforced.
The Department of Labor, fortunately, has decided to try to close some of the loopholes, to avoid expansion of this exploitative nonimmigrant worker program, and to do so needs to change the rules, ever so slightly, and in so doing needs to change the forms noted above.
The Department should be commended for what it is doing, and all the changes it proposes should be put into effect immediately.
I am writing these comments on behalf of the Center for Immigration Studies, the Washington think tank and the only such organization in the United States devoted to an examination of what immigration does to the American public. I am also writing with the insights gained some years ago when I was a DoL employee, the Assistant to the Secretary of Labor (then W. Willard Wirtz) for Farm Labor. My task was to inform the Secretary on the operation of various non-immigrant worker programs.
Please bear in mind that for every Labor Condition Application (LCA) approved for a single job, an American is likely to lose a job. For every LCA covering 10 jobs, 10 American jobs are at risk. DoL should get the data it needs in each and every case.
The Specifics. To provide some background on how much of a rubber-stamp process this was in the past, read this comment by immigration lawyer Cora-Ann V. Pestaina that appeared in a recent issue of Immigration Daily:
I still think longingly when the certification of a Labor Condition Application could be obtained within seconds. Three years ago the Department … mandated that each application form … would be manually reviewed prior to certification. This change increased the LCA processing time for a few seconds to seven business days … .
Think of the outrage! Seven business days, not a few seconds, to deprive a legal resident of a job!
What the Department wants to do in this revision of the rules is very modest, despite the screams of the immigration lawyers and their corporate clients.
The Department wants the names of the alien workers who will fill these jobs.
It wants to know where these jobs will be.
It wants a little more information on the wages.
And it says that corporations cannot file for more than 10 of these jobs on a single LCA.
The Department's proposals, all along these lines, should be accepted immediately.